Grace Elkus

Olive Garden's Meatball Pizza Bowls have excited pizza-lovers everywhere. But what if we told you you could make a pizza bowl yourself—minus the stomachache? Our miniature version is even tastier than the original, and will be out of the oven in 15 minutes.

Olive Garden recently released a slew of new menu items, including a giant meatball pizza bowl filled with meat sauce, three kinds of cheese, and spicy Italian meatballs. While the news didn't exactly send me running to the nearest Olive Garden, I knew the popular restaurant chain was onto something.

A bowl made out of pizza crust is actually pretty genius—Olive Garden's version of the bread bowl pizza is just a bit over-the-top. The best pizza slices have mastered the crust-to-sauce ratio—and Olive Garden’s new creation seems far too heavy on the sauce. To create a better bite that wouldn't leave me with a stomach ache, I needed to go smaller, and thus single-serve pepperoni pizza bowls were born.

These edible bowls are a fun alternative to a traditional slice of pizza, and everyone can customize their own. Plus, this pizza bowl recipe come out of the oven in less than 15 minutes. Here’s how to do it:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Turn a 12-cup muffin pan upside down onto a baking sheet so cups are facing down. Coat the tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a 1 lb. ball of store-bought refrigerated or frozen pizza dough to room temperature and divide into smaller pieces. Stretch and flatten each piece into disks and press lightly to drape over cup mold (you can also roll them out with a rolling pin). Skip every other cup so the bowls don’t bake into one another in the oven. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan, dried oregano, and freshly-ground black pepper.

2. Transfer to oven and bake until dough is cooked through and tops are golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler to high.

3. Slide the pizza crust bowls off of the muffin tin and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet with the cups facing up. Add some shredded mozzarella to the bottom of each cup, then top with a spoonful or two of warm marinara sauce and more cheese. Finish with pepperoni and grated Parmesan. Transfer to oven and broil until sauce and cheese are bubbling and the edges of the bowl are deeply browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Enjoy warm.

Just as you would pizza, get creative with toppings—try sliced mushrooms, olives, or even a white-sauce base. And if you want another edible bowl for dessert, make our Corn Tortilla Bowls and fill with ice cream.

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